AC to DC Battery Charger 101: Van Conversion Explained

A brief explanation of ac to dc battery chargers. What is an ac to dc battery charger, how are they used, and what do you need to know about installing an ac to dc battery charger in a van conversion?
AC to DC Battery Charger 101: Van Conversion Explained

An AC to DC battery charger allows you to charge your leisure battery in your campervan via a normal plug socket or at a campsite.

This allows you to ‘plug in’ and charge up your leisure batteries when stationary at a campsite or when on a driveway.

This blog will briefly explain how an ac to dc charger works and why you may need one.

How does an AC to DC charger work?

AC to DC chargers connect to your campervan leisure batteries and have a regular AC plug on the other end.

This allows you to plug straight into a plug socket and charge your leisure batteries.

Or, you can place an adaptor to connect this plug socket to a campsite power socket and charge your leisure batteries this way.

Since household power is AC, and your campervan batteries operate on DC power, you need this device if you want to charge your batteries up like this.

We explain a lot more about AC and DC power in our FREE Electrics 101 PDF.

van conversion electrics plan

AC to DC chargers with lithium and lead acid batteries

With campervan batteries, there are two main types of batteries: AGM Lead Acid and Lithium.

AC to DC chargers have different settings, allowing you to charge different types of batteries. If you have a lithium leisure battery, you need an AC to DC charger which can charge lithium batteries.

Because the battery chemistry is different, the charging parameters are different.

This is why there are different charging profiles, depending on the battery you are charging.

What does the number on the AC to DC charger mean?

AC to DC chargers are measured in Amps (A).

The higher the number, the more power this AC to DC charger can provide to charge your leisure batteries.

We chose to install a small AC to DC charger (a 30A model) since we knew we weren’t going to use this method of charging very often in our campervan.

If you often plan to use external power as a charging method, installing a larger AC to DC charger is recommended.

More information on AC to DC chargers

AC to DC chargers are pretty simple, but there is a lot more to learn about campervan electrics.

We have a FREE Electrics 101 PDF for you to download, which explains the basics of a campervan electrical system, including AC to DC chargers.

We also have an extensive Electrical Wiring Schematic, which explains every single product in a campervan electrical system, how they all connect together, how to know what sizes and types of products to pick, and some safety tips about campervan electrics.

And if you’d like to see us installing our AC to DC charger and our entire electrical installation, we have an entire playlist on youtube dedicated to that.


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